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Old Cars that bite back
SAAB meets Porsche, unfortunately..The meeting of an old SAAB and brand new Porsche 968 CS
My plan with running the SAAB was to have a hassle-free daily hack that would be no trouble at all.
So far most of the motoring debacles I've outlined elsewhere in this series of articles affected me, my car, and my sanity only. However there was one gremlin that struck which also involved one of the directors at the bank I worked for.
In 1998 I was running a 900 Turbo as my daily hack, a fun, quick and quirky, car that was great for carting large amounts of junk in. These older SAABs had a handbrake that operated on the front brake discs, and had to be locked in reverse in order to get the key out from between the front seats. Sadly the latter feature was missing on my example, although I usually remembered to pop it into reverse anyway when parked.
However one day I forgot to pop it into reverse, only applying the handbrake, before walking off to the office. A few hours later, a guy in security found me and asked if the white SAAB was mine in the far car park. Fearing that it had been broken into, I was getting concerned. I was however even more concerned when he told me that it had rolled down the incline in the carpark, and lodged itself in the back of a directors new Porsche 968 Club Sport. I ran out (not something I do very often) to inspect the damage.
My SAAB was indeed wedged into the squidgy back end of the 968, the SAAB was undamaged, its hefty rubber bumpers coping admirably with this low speed bump. The Porkers paintwork wasn't as fortunate alas, the bumper coming over very second-best. I moved my car, noticing that someone had had the cheek to pinch my parking space, so I had to go and park on the grass.
I went to 'own up' to the owner of the 968 and he was ok about it. My insurance dealt with the repair work to his car, all 1500 quid of it to replace his back bumper. The SAAB was undamaged. What happened was the handbrake, which worked on the same brake (front) discs as the footbrake, worked ok when I applied the handbrake to the warm discs. As they cooled, they contracted slightly, thus releasing the grab of the handbrake pads a little, allowing the car to roll off, into the Porsche.
Fortunately there was some steering lock applied, so it only travelled 20-30 feet or so, into Dr Ferry's finest. If there'd been no lock applied, it would have gone the entire length of the carpark and demolished the Fiat Cinquecento that belonged to a colleague of mine.
While still working at this company and owning the SAAB, someone chose to let their foot slip off the clutch pedal in their new Audi while in the queue of cars behind me, at kicking out time one evening. The delicate front bumper and spoiler of this Audi wrapped itself nicely around my SAABs towball, needless to say my car was unhurt which was more than could be said for the body-coloured front lower panelwork on the Ingolstadt car.
For the most part my other classics and more modern hacks have been reliable. Ok I had a minor wiring fire on my first Volvo Amazon, a front driveshaft disintegrated on the Mk2 Golf we had a few years back while driving along a motorway, and a few other minor gremlins, but for the most part things have usually gone to plan.
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